Search in La Ruta Natural

You can search the content of your interest in La Ruta Natural page here.


Esquel and Its Surroundings


In a valley nestled by hills at the foot of the Andes, Esquel invites you to discover the Andean beauty of northwestern Chubut. In its surroundings, the steppe and the Patagonian Andean forest blend to offer experiences in some of the most pristine spots of southern Argentina.

It can be visited all year round. In winter, it is a great place for practising snow sports and activities.

What to see
La Zeta Lagoon Urban Nature Reserve

Five kilometres from the centre of Esquel, La Zeta is a 1100-hectare urban reserve located in the transition between the forest and the steppe. The lagoon, at the foot of the valley, is surrounded by lush pine forests with areas of maytens, Antarctic beech, and cypresses, and has a resort where you can rent kayaks. It is an ideal place for bird watching (there are more than 100 species), and for walking. It has public and free access.

Nant y Fall Waterfalls Protected Natural Area

This reserve, 43 kilometres south of Esquel, covers 50 hectares of Patagonian Andean forest. Although there are seven waterfalls in the protected area, only four are accessible through low-difficulty trails with walkways located in the surroundings. Entrance is paid.

Los Alerces National Park

This national park, 34 kilometres west of Esquel, is one of Argentina’s most beautiful parks, with turquoise lakes and rivers, glaciers, waterfalls, and the Alerzal Milenario (a sector of the Valdivian rainforest with larch trees of more than 3,000 years old). It was declared a UNESCO’s World Heritage Site, and it is a great destination for hiking, kayaking, sailing, and horse riding. Find more information here, a must-visit destination.  

Ice Tunnels

The ice tunnels are exceptional ice formations on the western slope of La Torta Mount, on the border of Los Alerces National Park.

The snow built up during winter and spring turns into ice, creating tunnels in summer, full of lights, reflections, colours, and shapes that make up a natural kaleidoscope.

To get there, you must book an excursion which includes a 4x4-vehicle journey through the forest and a trek to almost the top of the mount. 

Baggilt Lake Protected Natural Area

In an unspoilt territory of 1500 hectares, the Baggilt Lake Protected Natural Area, 66 kilometres from Esquel, protects a very important forest of lenga, Antarctic, and Dombey's beeches. It is a perfect place for bird watching and mushroom and orchid identification.

You can access it only on a 4×4 vehicle along a gravel road that runs through a valley, then continues along a secondary trail. As you go up, the views of the Trevelin valley are increasingly breathtaking.

Once at the lake (located at the foot of Cónico Mount, the natural border with Chile, at 1,000 metres above sea level), you can walk around it following a moderate-difficulty path, and going up a stream with small and scenic waterfalls. At some point on the way, you will see a hanging glacier in the background.

Although you can complete this trek on your own, we suggest you check all the recommendations at the Provincial Delegation of the Ministry of Tourism of Chubut, and take them into account. You can also book an excursion with qualified guides. 

Piedra Parada Protected Natural Area

In the middle of the Chubut River valley, a totem leans out of the steppe: a gigantic rock of 240 metres high and 100 metres wide, resulting from a volcanic eruption that occurred 50 million years ago, rises up.

This protected area can be explored on foot and is 42 kilometres from the town of Gualjaina (85 kilometres from Esquel) on a journey where you will be surrounded by the Gualjaina mountains and the Chubut river. Find more information here, a must-visit destination.

La Hoya Mountain Activity Centre

Just 12 kilometres from Esquel, on La Hoya Mount, there is a historic ski resort with ascents and activities for all ages.

It is a great place to learn to ski because the beginner track is wide and safe, and has all the services. For more advanced athletes, there are canyons for off-piste skiing with great snow quality.

Find more information on the Ski La Hoya website. 

How to get there and move around

By car, bus, or plane to the city of Esquel. From Bariloche, it is at 300 kilometres along National Route 40, passing through the main tourist villages of Andean Patagonia, namely El Bolsón, Lago Puelo, El Hoyo, and Epuyén. 

You can explore the area and all its natural attractions on a private car and/or excursions. 

Where to stay

In Esquel and its surroundings, there is a wide range of accommodation options, such as hotels, mountain huts and campsites, restaurants, and all services. 

More information